Monday, 16 July 2018

Scottish Pale Ale Grists 1948 - 1965

 Now the new book is almost done, it's time for a little preview. This is something I literally just finished writing five minutes ago. On the ever fescinating topic of Scottish Pale Ales.

Scottish brewers were, for the most part pretty dull when it came to recipes. Most only had the one.

I’ve only bothered with one of a brewery’s Pale Ale range, as all were parti-gyled together. Except at the ever contrary William Younger. Not only weren’t their Pale Ales parti-gyled together, they all had slightly different recipes. The crazy bastards.

Scottish Pale Ale grists 1948 - 1965: malts and adjuncts
Year Brewer Beer OG pale malt black malt enzymic malt flaked maize flaked barley
1958 Bernard Pale 1/1 1031 75.20% 0.82% 13.08%
1948 Drybrough P 60/- 1030 79.11% 0.78% 1.65% 10.55%
1954 Drybrough 60/- 1032 74.52% 2.40% 0.64% 6.01% 6.01%
1960 Drybrough 60/- 1031 74.95% 0.44% 12.49%
1965 Drybrough 60/- 1031 74.45% 0.06% 12.07%
1951 Maclay PA 6d 1030 86.33%
1956 Maclay PA 6d 1030 74.82% 11.51%
1965 Maclay PA 6d 1030 74.82% 11.51%
1962 Thomas Usher P 1/4 1036 69.23% 6.29%
1957 Younger, Robert 60/- 1030 77.03% 13.75%
1960 Younger, Robert 60/- 1030 71.39% 19.99%
1949 Younger, Wm. XXP Btg 1031 92.86% 7.14%
1949 Younger, Wm. XXP 1031.5 88.24% 11.76%
1949 Younger, Wm. Ext 1047 87.50% 12.50%
1958 Younger, Wm. XXPQ 1033 60.00% 26.67%
1958 Younger, Wm. XXPSL 1038 58.62% 27.59%
1958 Younger, Wm. EXT 1046 60.94% 29.69%
1958 Younger, Wm. XXPS Btg 1038 62.16% 32.43%
Sources:
T & J Bernard brewing record held at the Scottish Brewing Archive, document number TJB6/1/1/1.
Drybrough brewing record held at the Scottish Brewing Archive, document number D/6/1/1/6.
Drybrough brewing record held at the Scottish Brewing Archive, document number D/6/1/1/7.
Drybrough brewing record held at the Scottish Brewing Archive, document number D/6/1/1/8.
Maclay brewing record held at the Scottish Brewing Archive, document number M/6/1/1/28.
Maclay brewing record held at the Scottish Brewing Archive, document number M/6/1/1/35.
Maclay brewing record held at the Scottish Brewing Archive, document number M/6/1/1/44.
Thomas Usher brewing record held at the Scottish Brewing Archive, document number TU/6/9/1.
Robert Younger brewing record held at the Scottish Brewing Archive, document number RY/6/1/2.
Robert Younger brewing record held at the Scottish Brewing Archive, document number RY/6/1/3.
William Younger brewing record held at the Scottish Brewing Archive, document number WY/6/1/2/88.
William Younger brewing record held at the Scottish Brewing Archive, document number WY/6/1/3/112.


I’ve lumped the malts and adjuncts together because there aren’t many of either. Mostly it’s just pale malt and flaked maize or barley. A couple of examples have a small amount of black malt for colour. But there’s no crystal malt in sight.

William Younger loved to stuff their beers with adjuncts. Before WW II most of their beers were 40% grits. The beers above aren’t quite that bad, but those from the 1950s all still have over 25% flaked maize.

Two sugar tables for this set.

Scottish Pale Ale grists 1948 - 1965: sugars
Year Brewer Beer OG no. 1 sugar invert Avona Hydrol
1958 Bernard Pale 1/1 1031 6.54% 4.36%
1948 Drybrough P 60/- 1030 2.64%
1954 Drybrough 60/- 1032 3.21% 3.21%
1960 Drybrough 60/- 1031 6.81% 1.51%
1965 Drybrough 60/- 1031 7.38% 0.67%
1951 Maclay PA 6d 1030 9.59%
1956 Maclay PA 6d 1030 7.67%
1965 Maclay PA 6d 1030 7.67%
1962 Thomas Usher P 1/4 1036 17.48%
1957 Younger, Robert 60/- 1030 4.58% 3.67%
1960 Younger, Robert 60/- 1030 3.81% 3.81%
1949 Younger, Wm. XXP Btg 1031
1949 Younger, Wm. XXP 1031.5
1949 Younger, Wm. Ext 1047
1958 Younger, Wm. XXPQ 1033
1958 Younger, Wm. XXPSL 1038 2.30%
1958 Younger, Wm. EXT 1046 3.13%
1958 Younger, Wm. XXPS Btg 1038

Invert sugar is as popular as ever. No. 1 being what you’d expect in Pale Ales. The unspecific “invert” is most likely either No. 1 or No. 2 invert. Avona and Hydrol are enigmatic proprietary sugars.

Scottish Pale Ale grists 1948 - 1965: sugars again
Year Brewer Beer OG cane candy caramel malt extract other sugar
1958 Bernard Pale 1/1 1031
1948 Drybrough P 60/- 1030 0.88% 4.39%
1954 Drybrough 60/- 1032 0.80% 3.21%
1960 Drybrough 60/- 1031 1.51% 0.76% 1.51%
1965 Drybrough 60/- 1031 2.68% 2.68%
1951 Maclay PA 6d 1030 0.24% 3.84%
1956 Maclay PA 6d 1030 0.24% 1.92% 3.84%
1965 Maclay PA 6d 1030 0.24% 1.92% 3.84%
1962 Thomas Usher P 1/4 1036 0.00% 2.10% 4.90%
1957 Younger, Robert 60/- 1030 0.05% 0.92%
1960 Younger, Robert 60/- 1030 0.05% 0.95%
1949 Younger, Wm. XXP Btg 1031
1949 Younger, Wm. XXP 1031.5
1949 Younger, Wm. Ext 1047
1958 Younger, Wm. XXPQ 1033 8.89% 4.44%
1958 Younger, Wm. XXPSL 1038 6.90% 4.60%
1958 Younger, Wm. EXT 1046 6.25%
1958 Younger, Wm. XXPS Btg 1038 5.41%

A more normal lot of sugars. Though exactly what is meant by cane and candy isn’t 100% clear. I assume that cane refers to some partially refined cane sugar. There’s lots of malt extract again, always in tiny quantities. The largest amount used is under 3% of the total grist.

Pale malt, flaked adjunct and sugar. That’s all there is to Scottish Pale Ale grists.

Sunday, 15 July 2018

A Normal Life

Before I became a 100% beer obsessive, language was my thing. And by extension literature.

Fearing forgetting my French, I started reading its classic literature: Gide, Flaubert, Maupassant, De Beauvoir, and loads more. Oh, and "La Modification" by Michel Butor. A book that hugely influenced my writing style.

Hearing English knowledge was zero in Czechoslovakia, I decided to learn a little Czech before my first visit in 1983. It was the start of a weird obsession.

I took evening classes, and tried to repeat my French upkeep. I tried to read books with the aid of a dictionary. Hard, hard work with a language as different from English as Czech. But I can be a stubborn bastard at times. What else was I to do on my boringly long commutes?

As well as being able to order beer and pork, Kundera played a role in part interst in learning Czech. I'd been impressed with what I'd read in translation. But after my experience with French literature, I realised that I needed to taste the real thing. Direct. With no trnslator inbetween.

Once I'd cracked reading literary Czech, an amazing world opened up. Wonderful, imaginative books. Hasek, Capek, Paral, Klima, Hrabal and more. A vibrant, playful tradition.

"Válka s mnohozvířetem" (War with the Multibeast) by Paral, is one of the craziest things I've ever read. I couldn't get it out of my head for years.

But one book really spoke to me. Obyčejný život (An Ordinary Life) by Karel Čapek. (The man who invented the word robot.) Saying how apparently boring lives conceal unexpected depths.

Not sure where this is going. Other than learn shit - it's worth it. Don't choose stupid.

Saturday, 14 July 2018

Let's Brew - 1961 Thomas Usher GSA

Usher’s records from this period are some of the dullest I’ve come across. I can only find two beers: their 70/- and this Strong Ale. Or was it a Scotch Ale? One of the two. It was certainly strong and brewed in Scotland.

Which is a bit odd, as I’ve seen labels for Export, Amber Ale, Sweet Stout, Brown Ale and Pale Ale labels from this period. Were all of those beers really just P 1/4? I suppose if they blended GSA with it they could make a stronger Export-style beer. But how would you make the Stout?

There’s only one sugar in this, DAS. Could that be Dark Amber Syrup? Maybe. I’ve gone for No. 3 invert, in any case. The colour is close to the one in the brewing record so it can’t be that far off. The final colour was almost certainly quite a bit darker, around 20-25 SRM. Probably achieved through a caramel addition at racking time.

I know from the weekly totals on materials that Usher used considerable amounts of caramel. But it doesn’t appear in the brewing records of the individual beers. It must have been added at a later stage in the brewing process.


1961 Thomas Usher GSA
pale malt 15.25 lb 86.35%
flaked maize 1.75 lb 9.91%
malt extract 0.33 lb 1.87%
No. 3 invert sugar 0.33 lb 1.87%
Fuggles 120 mins 2.25 oz
Fuggles 60 mins 0.75 oz
Goldings 30 mins 0.75 oz
OG 1077
FG 1025
ABV 6.88
Apparent attenuation 67.53%
IBU 43
SRM 8
Mash at 150º F
Sparge at 157º F
Boil time 120 minutes
pitching temp 57.5º F
Yeast WLP013 London Ale (Worthington White Shield)

Friday, 13 July 2018

Summer reading

What's better for light reading on the beach than one of my lovely tabkle-filled books?

There are some crackers in there, mind. And my books are one of the ways I earn money directly. Or any effing money, for that matter.

Buy my books!



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It's the Perfect Ale

I guess lots of you agree, seeing as that spells out IPA. As it does in this advert from 1950:




Banbury Guardian - Thursday 23 March 1950, page 2.

What was that beer like? How strong was it? What colour? They're the questions I always asked when I was adverts like this. I never expected to get answers. But I did. Thank Whitbread.

The Whitbread Gravity Book is one of the most valuable sources on 20th-century UK brewing. Without its thousands of ananlyses, I'd have no idea - and no possibility of ever discovering - the details of the beers from brewery's whose records are lost.

The colour numbers in the Gravity Book are particularly helpful. Brewers mostly didn't record the colour in their brewing records. Nor all the colouring sugars they added post-fermentation. Many of the recipes in my new book came out way paler than the Gravity Book analysis. I've adjusted the recipes accordingly.

Multiple sources. Combining them to make something greater than their simple sum is my ultimate joy.

Here are those NBC beer details:


Northampton Brewery beers 1948 - 1952
Year Beer Style Price per pint d OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation colour
1948 Brown Ale Brown Ale 18 1032.4 1008.4 3.11 74.07% 150
1950 IPA IPA 1046.2 1012.4 4.39 73.16% 24
1950 PA Pale Ale 1035.2 1007.8 3.56 77.84% 32
1952 Jumbo Stout Stout 18 1037.8 1016.8 2.70 55.56% 100
1952 Brown Ale Brown Ale 18 1038 1013 3.23 65.79% 200
1949 Pale Ale Pale Ale 15 1033.4 1008.1 3.28 75.75% 28
Source:
Whitbread Gravity Book document LMA/4453/D/02/002 held at the London Metropolitan Archives

Thursday, 12 July 2018

1850-1880 Ale comes of age

What shocks me most, looking back after almost ten years, about the unfinished manuscript for my Big Book is how short it is. Only 126,000 words. A long way short of finished. Barely started, in parts.

The 1850 to 1880 chapter is particularly sketchy. Most is little more than headings or quotes intended as source material rather than final text. This excerpt from the styles section is about the sum total of coherent content. Other than some lovely tables.

"Porter
The long slow decline of Porter was just beginning. A decline which ended in extinction around 1940. The most popular style at the beginning of this period, by its end Porter had been overtaken by Ale.

Loftus described Porter thus: "Indispensable qualities of good porter are fulness, potency, and flavour; and in these it differs from well-breed ale, which is thin, spirituous, and vinous." (Source: "The Brewer" by William Loftus, 1856, page 65.) "Its chief distinction lies in its peculiarly agreeable flavour, aided by its flushing, mantling effervescence:" (Source: "The Brewer" by William Loftus, 1856, page 62.)

Until about 1800, all London Porter was matured in large vats (often holding several hundred barrels) for between six and eighteen months before being racked into smaller casks to be delivered to pubs. It was discovered that it was unnecessary to age all Porter. A small quantity of highly aged beer (18 months or more) mixed with fresh or "mild" Porter produced a flavour similar to that of aged beer. It was a cheaper method of producing Porter, as less beer needed to be stored for long periods. The normal blend was around two parts young beer to one part old.

After 1860, as the popularity of both Porter and the aged taste began to wane, Porter was increasingly sold "mild". In the final decades of the century many breweries discontinued their Porter, though continued to brew one or two Stouts. Those which did still persist with Porter brewed it weaker and with fewer hops. Between 1860 and 1914 the gravity dropped from 1060° to 1050° and the hopping rate from two pounds to one pound per 36 gallon barrel. It was a mere shadow of the beer which had once been so respected and admired."
"Beer, Ale and Malt Liquor", by Ron Pattinson, 2133, pages 132 - 133.
Here's one of the nice tables:

Barclay Perkins Porter and Stout grists 1862 
TT EI Hhd BSt IBSt
pale malt % 80.19 76.44 81.19 65.19 66.11
amber malt % 0 0 0 11.11 11.26
brown malt % 14.78 19.93 14.47 20.91 19.79
black malt % 5.03 3.63 4.34 2.79 2.83
hops (lbs/brl) 4.32 4.6 5.66 8.33 10.02
hops (lbs/qtr) 22 18.08 25.45 17.9 15.58
gravity (OG) 1056 1063 1058 1090 1100
Source:
Brewing logs from the Courage archive in the London Metropolitan Archive.

Nicely. You did ask about how my new book is coming along? Of course you did. Very nicely. A commercial suicide project, obviously. But that's the beauty of self-publishing. I can write what the hell books I want. No matter how few might want to read them.


Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1946 Barclay Perkins KK (bottling)

To celebrate the offocial BJCP recognition of Burton Ale, here's an austerity example that probably falls short of the specs.

It's a preview of one of the recipes in my new book, Austerity!. Which documents that most exciting of brewing eras, 1945 to 1965. 200 recipes or so, plus some guff about beer styles and pubs. If I don't get distracted, it should definitely be done by the end of next week.

Bottling KK was marketed as Southwarke Olde Ale. It was a stronger version of KK, their Burton Ale. The difference being that it was a bottled rather than a draught beer. Considering it bears the same name, it’s surprisingly different.

The grist contains no amber malt, as the draught version did,  and the sugar in No. 1 rather than No. 3. Though the brewing record does have “3” crossed out, replaced with a red “1”. Was that a mistake or a recipe change? The other photos I have of this beer aren’t much help. One lists No. 3, the other No. 1.

Another big difference with the draught version is the lack of dry hops. This isn’t unusual. Bottled beers often lacked the draught version’s dry hops. There are more copper hops, however. 8.85 lbs per quarter of malt as opposed to 8.35 lbs. Not a massive difference, but I’m sure it’s no mistake.

It may look modest today, but 1047.5º was a pretty huge OG in 1946.

1946 Barclay Perkins KK (bottling)
pale malt 7.75 lb 74.70%
crystal malt 0.50 lb 4.82%
flaked barley 0.50 lb 4.82%
No. 1 invert sugar 1.50 lb 14.46%
caramel 1000 SRM 0.125 lb 1.20%
Bramling Cross 90 mins 1.00 oz
Fuggles 75 mins 1.00 oz
Fuggles 60 mins 1.00 oz
Goldings 30 mins 1.00 oz
OG 1047.5
FG 1018
ABV 3.90
Apparent attenuation 62.11%
IBU 55
SRM 15
Mash at 152º F
Sparge at 165º F
Boil time 90 minutes
pitching temp 60º F
Yeast Wyeast 1099 Whitbread Ale

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

California here we come

It's just over four weeks until me and the kids will be hitting the West Coast.

There's been a slight change in plan, with San Francisco replacing Denver. The kids said they'd prefer to visit there. I can't say I blame them. It's the perfect city for the boys, having cable cars, trams, an underground and trolleybuses.

Here's our full schedule:

Thursday 9th     Seattle
Friday 10th    Seattle
Saturday 11th     San Diego
Sunday 12th     San Diego
Monday 13th     San Diego
Tuesday 14th     San Francisco
Wednesday 15th     San Francisco
Thursday 16th     Vancouver
Friday 17th     Vancouver
Saturday 18th     Seattle
Sunday 19th     fly home

It's not a full-on beer trip. But there is room for an event or two. So if you'd like to hear me bang on about my new book or some other nonsense, get in touch.

1880-1914 Adjuncts arrive

Just about finished this year's proper book. Which has distracted me from posting a bit.

I was so busy today polishing off sections 1, 2 and 4, that I forgot to write a blog post.

"Bugger, Andrew. Forgot to post. I have to nail something together quickly. I want to go to bed."

"Don't you have some old crap you can recycle?"

"Loads, Andrew. I've hundreds of thousands of unpublished words. It would be a shame to waste them."

"And then you can piss off quickly to bed and let us watch crazy internet videos."

"Right you are, kids."

"1880-1914 Adjuncts arrive
A highly significant piece of legislation was adopted in 1880: the so-called Free Mash Tun Act. It introduced a new method of taxing beer and removed restrictions on ingredients.

The 1830 Beer Act had repealed all excise duty on beer. Instead, the raw materials needed to brew beer were taxed instead. In 1880 the malt and hop tax were replaced with excise duty on beer, based on the original gravity of the wort. This duty was payable at the end of the month.

As soon as the wort had run into the fermenting tun, it was checked by an Excise Officer to determine its volume and gravity. This was the basis on which beer duty was calculated. An allowance of 6% was made by the Excise for losses during fermentation. At the end of each month a calculation was made to convert the total amount of beer brewed into its equivalent in standard barrels. Should the yield have been fewer than 4 standard barrels per quarter, then the duty was levied on the materials used, rather than the number of standard barrels produced. (Source: "Principles & Practice of Brewing" by Walter J. Sykes & Arthur R. Ling, 1907, pages 528-529.)

For Excise purposes, a quarter of malt was deemed to be 336 pounds. The following amounts of other fermentables were consided by the Excise to be the equivalent of a quarter of malt:

cane sugar 224 lbs
glucose or invert sugar 256 lbs
flaked maize or rice 256 lbs
No. 1 syrup 272 lbs
No. 2 syrup 328 lbs
(Source: "Principles & Practice of Brewing" by Walter J. Sykes & Arthur R. Ling, 1907, page 529.)

Breweries were now able to use a whole range of adjuncts, such as maize, rice and unmalted barley. This was the final nail in the coffin for private brewers, whose last advantage over commercial brewers had been the ability to use whatever ingredients they chose. As duty was paid on the wort, there was a big financial; disincentive to age beer for long periods. The tax already having been paid, it meant huge amounts of capital were tied up in maturing beer. Fashion had already been moving away from the "aged" taste in beer (derived from the action of brettanomyces). The decline in production of vatted Stock Ales and Stouts was further accelerated by this change in the law.

Not all drinkers were so keen on brewers being given a free rein to use what they liked in their beer. In 1886 an organisation called The Pure Movement was Formed in Kent to campaign for restrictions on the ingredients used in brewing. Originally based in in the Southeast, the group expanded its activites to cover the whole of the country at the end of the year. "As a general principle, the average Briton believes in malt and hops as a sheet anchor of the Constitution, and a million scientific statements to the contrary would not convince him that good beer can be brewed in any but an orthodox way." (Source: DNW June 10th 1886.)

A Pure Beer Bill was introduced to parliament in 1886. It would have compelled wholesalers and retailers of beer that contained anything other than malted barley and hops to display a prominent sign saying what else was in it. Sounds fair enough to me, and way ahead of its time. Of course, it didn't pass and never became law. (Source: News of the World, May 23rd 1886.)

Beer production fell between 1900 and 1910, partly in response to a tax increase in 1901 to help fund the Boer War. It began to rise again from 1911 until the outbreak of WW I. Average gravity fell by about 2º between 1900 and 1914. That would turn out to be insignificant compared to the massive changes in beer strengths wrought by the two world wars."
"Beer, Ale and Malt Liquor", by Ron Pattinson, 2033, pages 143 - 144.
I may joke about my all-encompassing, unfinished mega-work. But I'm gradually getting it done, one chapter at a time.Two already out there, two more to follow this year.

Buy my books.